To consider a report from the Head of Democratic Services that introduces the Executive Board’s initial budget proposals for 2022/23 for consideration, review and comment on matters and proposals that fall within the Scrutiny Board’s remit.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that introduced the Executive Board’s initial budget proposals for 2022/23 for consideration, review and comment on matters and proposals that fall within the Scrutiny Board’s remit.
The following were in attendance:
· Cllr Fiona Venner - Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships
· Cath Roff - Director of Adults and Health
· Victoria Eaton - Director of Public Health
· Steve Baker - Head of Active Leeds
· Victoria Bradshaw - Chief Officer Financial Services
· John Crowther - Chief Officer Resources and Strategy, A&H
· Alun Ellis - Head of Finance (Adult Social Care & Public Health)
This matter was considered in conjunction with the Financial Health Monitoring report (minute 48 refers).
The Chair highlighted that while the Board had already been initially consulted on the budget proposals during December, today’s meeting provided a further opportunity for Members to raise any questions and to formally capture any particular views and any recommendations that the Board may wish to make to the Executive Board.
It was noted that any comments or recommendations made by the Scrutiny Board would inform a composite Statement by Scrutiny to be submitted to the Executive Board for consideration at its meeting on 9th February 2022.
The Director of Adults and Health gave a brief introduction to those elements of the Budget proposals falling within the remit of the Directorate and in doing so had highlighted that a balanced budget was proposed.
The Head of Active Leeds then gave a brief overview of the two Business As Usual proposals relating to the Service which were focused around income generation and the intention to enhance the programme of activities and service delivery. This related to the ‘Health and Well Being offer’ to Businesses based within or nearby to Leeds and also an increase in swimming tuition income based upon a remodelling of existing activities expanding the duration of the programme. The Board was assured that the proposals would enhance service delivery and that there would be limited impact upon existing staff as additional staffing resource will be required for delivery.
Discussions considered the following matters:
· Maximising funding contributions from the NHS. The Board made reference to the Business As Usual proposal to achieve £500k through maximising funding contributions from the NHS and sought clarity on how this is to be achieved while also enquiring as to why it had not been actioned previously. In response, the Director of Adults and Health highlighted that work has been undertaken for a number of years primarily to ensure that an individual’s care needs are being funded appropriately and fairly across relevant organisations and that protocols are now in place which help to speed up this process which has led to increased funding contributions made by the NHS. However, there is ongoing work to look at maximising funding contributions from the NHS in terms of wider services which are commissioned jointly, such as Carers Leeds.
· Direct Payments and the review of the award system. Reference was made to the Business As Usual proposal to develop a direct payment plan that is easy to administer for social workers to become the default option and which will improve client contributions and reduce instances of incorrect billing. Expanding on this, the Director of Adults and Health explained that the current direct payment service is quite onerous and can therefore be off putting even though the direct payment option offers more autonomous control to individuals who require services. By improving the administration of this service and encouraging greater uptake, this will lead to greater efficiency savings within the service too.
a) That the budget proposals for 2022/23 as presented be noted.
b) That the Board’s comments are reflected as part of the Scrutiny submission to Executive Board for its consideration.